Categories: Garage Door

History of the Garage Door

Since I started working for Aaron Overhead Doors, our traditional, paneled garage door has earned a new kind of respect! Not only does it secure my home, but it also adds a lot of convenience to accessing my home. For this reason, I thought I’d do a little research to see how garage doors become the modern home fixture they are today. I found that garage doors have been through many changes over the past 100 years. Through all of this, garage door have become one of the most important “needs” for homeowners when purchasing a new home. Here, we’d like to take a look at a brief history of garage doors.

When did it start?

Around 450 BC, Romans depended on horse-drawn chariots for transportation, and they needed a place to store them. So, the first garage was a gatehouse used for storing chariots, and most likely, the stables were close by. However, these weren’t the overhead variety we utilize so much today. Romans most likely used doors that opened outwardly and could be closed after use. However, even these early efforts are admirable for their security purposes and functionality. 

This same mode of utilizing swing out doors was utilized through the centuries for all different people groups. There are no significant change in the classic construction of “carriage house” gates until 1902. This is when “float over doors” became popular in the United States. Although “float over” is likely an unfamiliar term for you, it basically started to evolution of the overhead garage doors we have today. In 1906, after this style of garage door become popular and accessible, American manufacturers published catalogs that advertised upward-lifting garage doors.


Around 1910, manufacturers composed garage doors of a double door attached to the garage and had strap hinges attached that opened outwards. These doors experienced lots of wear with creaky hinges. However, hinge screws would bend and eventually fall out from being open and closed so much.  Also, if snow blocked the garage door, you couldn’t open it until you shoveled the snow away!

It help solve these issues, sliding track garage doors were introduced. However, these doors needed a bigger garage to slide open and closed in. Although they were more versatile, owners had to build the garage at least double the width of the door.

C.G. Johnson

C.G. Johnson, from Detroit, MI and founder of the Overhead Door Corporation, discovered a solution to the amount of space garage doors were taking up. Johnson’s new door could be lifted upwards, folding parallel to the garage ceiling. In 1926, Johnson also invented the very first electric garage door opener. These two incredible advancements revolutionized the garage door industry as it was. 


By 1970, more than 30 garage door companies existed and the garage door’s popularity continued to grow. Manufacturers also started to use different materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, and wood. This gave customers many new choices for the brand, style, material of their garage door. With this kind of variety available, homeowners could customize their garage door to their home and lifestyle.

2000 and Beyond

By 2000, the boring paneled aluminum door got a face lift. New designs started popping up, adding to a home’s curb appeal. Also, the real estate crash around 2007-2008 caused many companies to leave the market while others were bought by bigger fish. Recently, in 2015-2016, the real estate market has picked back up with new building projects in the Atlanta area and other areas around the country. Also, with this new trend, homeowners are upgrading or replacing garage doors with popular carriage styles and wood to add to their curb appeal and attract potential new home buyers.

If this blog article was helpful to you, please like and share so that others might benefit from it, too! Also, if you are ready to upgrade your garage door for better curb appeal and increased home value, contact Aaron Overhead Doors. We would be happy to walk you through your options for garage door replacement. 

Ryan Lucia

Published by
Ryan Lucia
Tags: garage doors

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